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'Sinister language' indeed.

by Jeremy Hooper

You know what we find "sinister"? Willfully confusing millions of people so that they will oppose a piece of legislation wherein the sole goal is to keep a demonstrably vulnerable group safe from bias-motivated violence.

You know what we find dangerous in American politics? That there are well-financed groups who will abjectly misrepresent the language of a bill -- a bill that specifically protects them as well -- so that they can keep their anti-[insert minority group] agenda alive.

You know what we find truly threatening in terms of religious freedom? That by phrasing scenarios in a way that suggests all preachers should be above the law so as to embolden their political strategy, there are some faith-based folks out there who destroying all nuance between a preacher who merely preaches a certain passage and an extremist preacher who expressly calls for a genocide. And that these same folks are deliberately reducing this complex matter down to the mind-numbingly simplistic base level, so as to convince their followers that LGBT people and their allies are anti-religion bigots who are chomping at the bit to prosecute all people of faith.

That's how we see it. 200907010930-1Focus on the Family's Tom Minnery, however, sees it differently:

Tom Minnery, Focus on the Family Action's senior vice president of government and public policy, noted Obama also talked about passing a "hate-crimes" bill.

"That bill, which we've been battling for years successfully, has sinister language in it," Minnery explained. "This time, there will be language in the final form that has implications for pastors who want to preach on passages that deal with homosexuality, such as Romans 1."

It is conceivable, Minnery explained, that pastors could become parties to criminal prosecution if someone who has heard a pastor's message then goes out and commits a crime.

"Obviously, we are not in favor of anybody committing a violent crime against anybody for any reason," he said. "But if it's a crime against a homosexual, an attorney could trace the inducement for the crime back to a sermon, then a pastor might be implicated in that crime.

"That is sinister. That directly violates the First Amendment. Churches ought to be free to preach the Gospel."
Obama Makes Big Policy Promises to Gays [CitizenLink]

Now, of course Tom doesn't address what, exactly, is "sinister" about this year's version of the thoroughly benign language (which you can read here). Instead, he purposely leaves Focus on the Family readers with the sneaking suspicion that there is some sort of anti-Christian prose buried within, knowing full well that 90% will never go over and read the bill for themselves. And then he couples this idea with the tried tired and true untrue notion that a Leviticus-spouting preacher will be hauled to jail without merit, knowing full well that 90% of his followers will never stop and consider the common sense legal realities and proof-burdens attached to such an unfair claim. The scenario is reduced to bullcaca because a pre-chewed assessment would satisfy too many.

But hey, it's only LGBT lives we are talking about here. Who needs thoughtful, measured consideration when carelessly tossing around the word "sinister" is so damn easy?

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Your thoughts

Not one person pushing this crap about how treating gays fairly means the bigots will be sent to prison has ever been able to explain this:


[Among the group's teachings are the view that all non-whites—who are labelled "mud people"—have no souls and hence, no place at all in the afterlife; and since they are not going either to Heaven or Hell after they die, they have no incentive to self-regulate their earthly behavior. Jews are considered a race of devils born from Eve and Satan, and the church believes that they were placed on earth to do his bidding]

Now blacks and jews have been on the hate crime list for how many decades? And despite preaching that they were filth and scum that entire time they only way a lawsuit could be brought against them was when some of the church's security guards opened fire on a passing car.
Thats right, for a priest to get punished under this law they'd have to have a paid employee attack someone. Until Fred Phelps is taken away by a SWAT team their is no possible way to claim anti-gay bigotry is a punishable offense.
Also this quote infuriates me:

"Obviously, we are not in favor of anybody committing a violent crime against anybody for any reason,"

Because its so blatantly obvious that they want gays to be attacked. Heres a more accurate wuote:

"Now those child molesting, ravenous perverts who want to destroy your religion and imprison you are trying to make it illegal to oppose them, not that we'd want you to take this matter into your own hands... *wink wink*"

PS: can you do bold/italics in these comments? I tried with the wiki quote

Posted by: penguinsaur | Jul 1, 2009 11:21:33 AM

Anyone who thinks their will be arrested under hate crimes legislation obviously expects their preacher to do or say something worse than Fred Phelps himself, considering that the man's speech has been legally protected.

Posted by: Harrison | Jul 1, 2009 12:22:27 PM

You know, I initially opposed the hate crimes law idea. It offended my libertarian and egalitarian sensibilities. However, the more I read and hear of this kind of rhetoric, the more for it I am. It is obvious that some people just plain want to eliminate us LGBTs, at least scare us back into the closet.

If Minnery, et al, can't distinguish between a minister who quotes Scripture to tell his congregation he doesn't want them doing certain things in bed and a minister who is capable of whipping a disturbed mind into an anti-gay frenzy, well, he must know that this is difficult for others sometimes, too. He says far more about FOTF-supportive churches than he does about LGBT people.

Posted by: GreenEyedLilo | Jul 1, 2009 1:21:25 PM

Was the "federal nexus for offense" clause incorporated into existing federal hate-crimes legislation? If that is an expansion of the scope to include those who do, in fact, incite, collude or conspire with the perpetrators of the violent act. And, as you say, the burden of proof would require much more than just a blanket condemnation of "sin". It would require a direct tie between the "incitement" and the actual criminal activity.

And (again if this is an expansion), it would further protect all of the protected classes who are included in Hate Crimes legislation. But, I can see how those who actively promote discrimination with incendiary rhetoric, might think that this could be used against them (the guilty conscience might be some indication that they are consciously aware of the effects of their vocalized hatred). But, it is an unfounded fear. That is, of course, unless they are actively forming goon squads, or otherwise actively promoting the use of violence - in which case, they are (and should be held) equally as culpable as the violent perpetrator is.

Posted by: Dick Mills | Jul 1, 2009 2:21:28 PM

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